Genre: Fantasy & Magic


A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas | Book Review

September 27, 2017 Book Review, Young Adult 0 ★★★★★

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas | Book ReviewA Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #2
Also in this series: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Published by Bloomsbury Children's on May 3, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic, Romance
Pages: 626
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought from Amazon
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5 Stars
Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

So… I have been struggling and struggling with how to review A Court of Mist and Fury since I read it almost a year ago. I almost considered not reviewing it at all because it seemed so overwhelming to me. It’s a huge book, filled with so many things that I loved so much that writing down all my feelings and thoughts seems impossible. BUT… I want to be able to look back and remember how I felt, so this “review” is really just for me. It’s an unorganized list of feelings and impressions and fangirliness. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. Everything that happened in ACOTAR that I thought I loved so much was replaced and/or outdone by everything that happened in this book. For example, I was totally on team Tamlin… until I wasn’t. The book starts out with a very emotionally destroyed, almost traumatized Feyre, and Tamlin sucked so bad. I literally hated him within the first few pages. How the crap did this even happen? I LOVED him! But Rhysand… *swoon* He made me fall in love with him even more, even though I hated his villainous ways in ACOTAR. He’s still his normal mischievous, cunning, slippery self, but he’s also passionate and tender and so caring and protective of those he holds dear. I was sold. My loyalties were flipped on a dime. I had no idea I was capable of loving Rhys, but now I can’t imagine feeling any differently. That’s what this book did to me!!

2. The reason Feyre and Rhys fall in love is super sweet and magical, at least in my opinion. I thought Tamlin and Feyre were meant to be, but these two are on a completely different level.

3. The romance… I just can’t. It was everything I hoped for and more. I love so many romantic passages and quotes, but here are some of my favorites:

“I am broken and healing, but every piece of my heart belong to you.”

“I heard every word between you. I knew you could take care of yourself, and yet … ” He went back to his pie, swallowing a bite before continuing. “And yet I found myself deciding that if you took his hand, I would find a way to live with it. It would be your choice.”
I sipped from my wine. “And if he had grabbed me?”
There was nothing but uncompromising will in his eyes. “Then I would have torn apart the world to get you back.”

“I was his and he was mine, and we were the beginning and middle and end. We were a song that had been sung from the very first ember of light in the world.”

4. There is so much emotion in A Court of Mist and Fury. There’s so many feelings, and I felt them right along with the characters. Feyre has been through a lot, if you’ll remember the end of ACOTAR and the whole Amarantha debacle. She’s very delicate and is having to recover from the trauma and abuse she went through. I related to her a lot, and found it refreshing that she didn’t just jump right back into her hardened, brave, strong self. I liked seeing the impact those prior events had on her. Even strong people have to process the bad in life. The author could have had them all recover during the break between books and then come back and show us strong characters. Tamlin is struggling, Rhys is struggling, others are struggling. Life is hard for these characters and I liked being able to witness it instead of hear about it after the fact.

5. I LOVED The Night Court and the secret, beautiful city of Velaris. The setting was just so pretty and magical. I also loved the people there, and all the new characters I got to meet.

6. The writing was wonderful. I love all the details and the feelings that Maas put into words.

7. This is the first time I have felt that the second book was better than the first. I never thought I’d see the day!

Basically… read it. Read. It. A Court of Mist and Fury was my hands down my favorite book of 2016, and I’m actually considering a re-read which I rarely ever do. Do yourself a favor and et invested in this series.


The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill | Graphic Novel Review

September 5, 2017 Book Review, Graphic Novel 1 ★★★★★

The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill | Graphic Novel ReviewThe Tea Dragon Society by Katie O'Neill
Published by Oni Press on October 31, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic
Pages: 72
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Netgalley
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5 Stars
From the award-winning author of Princess Princess Ever Aftercomes The Tea Dragon Society, a charming all-ages book that follows the story of Greta, a blacksmith apprentice, and the people she meets as she becomes entwined in the enchanting world of tea dragons.

After discovering a lost tea dragon in the marketplace, Greta learns about the dying art form of tea dragon care-taking from the kind tea shop owners, Hesekiel and Erik. As she befriends them and their shy ward, Minette, Greta sees how the craft enriches their lives—and eventually her own.

This was such a cute, magical little graphic novel! I really loved it. Tea dragons are little dragons whose horns store the memories of their time together with their owners, whom they love very much. Those horns grow tea leaves, which can be cut off and brewed into very high quality tea. When a person drinks this tea, they receive a vision of a memory of that tea dragon’s owner. Greta is a blacksmith and finds a lost tea dragon wandering through the market. When she returns this tea dragon to its owner she is offered the opportunity to learn the art of raising tea dragons and brewing their tea. She makes three new friends and they form a loving bond as their raise their tea dragons together. When Greta drinks some of the tea we get to see how the group formed and learn more about the pasts of these characters.

The story is divided up into four chapters: one for each season of the year. It’s is simple, but very sweet and great for all ages. It felt like a warm blanket. And the illustrations are to die for. The colors are beautiful, and everything is so cute! I’ve clipped a few of my favorite illustrations so you can see what I mean. The dragons are particularly adorable, and they are all named after common teas: Jasmine, Chamomile, Roobios, etc.

This image is one of the visions/memories that comes from drinking some tea.

All in all, I don’t have one complaint! This graphic novel was a joy to read. I loved the magical storytelling, unique story elements, the sweet characters, the adorable little tea dragons, and the moral of the story, which is to surround yourself with people you love and to cultivate the talents you’re passionate about. I would most definitely recommend this to readers of all ages who are looking for beautiful illustrations and a timeless, sweet, and light feel-good story.

 

 

 


The Crown’s Fate by Evelyn Skye | Book Review

April 17, 2017 Book Review, Young Adult 3

The Crown’s Fate by Evelyn Skye | Book ReviewThe Crown's Fate by Evelyn Skye
Series: The Crown's Game #2
Also in this series: The Crown's Game
Published by Balzer + Bray on May 16, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Edelweiss
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1 Stars
Russia is on the brink of great change. Pasha’s coronation approaches, and Vika is now the Imperial Enchanter, but the role she once coveted may be more difficult—and dangerous—than she ever expected.

Pasha is grappling with his own problems—his legitimacy is in doubt, the girl he loves loathes him, and he believes his best friend is dead. When a challenger to the throne emerges—and with the magic in Russia growing rapidly—Pasha must do whatever it takes to keep his position and protect his kingdom.

For Nikolai, the ending of the Crown’s Game stung deeply. Although he just managed to escape death, Nikolai remains alone, a shadow hidden in a not-quite-real world of his own creation. But when he’s given a second chance at life—tied to a dark price—Nikolai must decide just how far he’s willing to go to return to the world.

With revolution on the rise, dangerous new magic rearing up, and a tsardom up for the taking, Vika, Nikolai, and Pasha must fight—or face the destruction of not only their world but also themselves.

Here I sit, broken-hearted after taking a month to read this book. Guys, I loved The Crown’s Game. LOVED it. I was so excited for this sequel and ended up having to talk myself out of DNFing an infinite number of times because I so wanted to get back there to that place of love for this world and these characters. Sadly, it didn’t happen and I’m left so disappointed that I don’t even have much to say.

I felt like I was in a different world with this book. It was dark, depressing, and to be honest… boring. I found myself skimming at multiple points due to a complete lack of interest. The Crown’s Game was magical and whimsical and light and full of color and excitement. All of these things that I loved so much were gone in The Crown’s Fate. Nikolai’s character was unrecognizable in a bad way. He went in a very heartbreaking direction that I did not get over even after all loose ends were quickly tied up into a convenient little bow at the end (seriously, that ending was a huge disappointment after everything we’ve been through). Pasha and Vika both seemed weaker than they used to, and never really did or said anything important. There was very little going on in the story, and I felt like what did happen just continued to repeat itself because there was nothing else to say. What little magic there was was just not good for me. And I did not like seeing the characters I once loved being evil and plotting against each other. The book was too long for the story, and I ended up just going through the motions by the end. Let me just say: some horrible stuff happens that any normal person would not be ok with as quickly as these characters were ok with it.

So yeah, that’s all I have to say. The only thing good I can take away from this is that there were a few glimmers of the world I loved. Evelyn’s writing is also still lovely, but I was just not happy with where the story went. I’m so SO sad, as I was highly anticipating this sequel. I will forever recommend The Crown’s Game, but will that suggest people treat it as a standalone.


A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas | Book Review

March 18, 2017 Book Review, Young Adult 9 ★★★★★

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas | Book ReviewA Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
Also in this series: A Court of Mist and Fury
Published by Bloomsbury on May 5, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic, High Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 416
Format: ARC
Source: From the Publisher
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5 Stars
A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Timesbestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

I don’t even know how to review all the gloriousness that is A Court of Thorns and Roses. This is honestly my favorite book in the universe. I experienced the most vicious book hangover of my life. Seriously. It lasted about a week and a half and I could not even read anything else because I was in mourning.I had to go to Sarah J. Maas herself and have her tell me what to read next because I could not get over her book. No the book is not sad… but it ended. And that’s my only complaint about this book.

Coherent thoughts are not possible. I’m sorry, but they are not. It has been about three weeks since I finished ACOTAR, and all I can do when I think about it is melt into a puddle of swoons and sighs. So I’m going to have to resort to my very unorganized list review style and just blurt out everything I loved.

1. SO MANY FEELS. I will refer to my Goodreads status updates to illustrate my point:

ACOTARProgress
See? This book put me through the ringer, and I was happy to do it.

2. This is my favorite Beauty and the Beast retelling ever. Actually, I loved it more than Beauty and the Beast and THAT is saying something. It was so beautifully done, and there were so many hat tips to the original story.

3. Sarah J. Maas is a genius with words. I can’t believe how perfectly written this book was! Her writing reminds me of those taffy stretching machines. It’s so smooth and flowing and glorious. I just wanted to roll around in it.

4. The world is stupendous and beautiful. Sarah is a master at world building. This is the fairyland beyond your wildest dreams. The descriptions took my breath away. But this land is being taken over by evil, and the quest to defeat this evil kept me flipping pages as fast as I could.

5. There were some VERY sexy moments and I loved them all. The romance is off the charts, and so spellbindingly perfect. I’m in love with this book.

6. I want to be Feyre when I grow up. She’s a super hardcore bad-a, she’s loyal to those she loves, she’s artsy (like me), and she gets Tamlin all to herself.

7. Tamlin is mine. I’ll fight you for him if needs be. He’s a perfect blend of loyalty, protectiveness, chivalry, bravery, nobility, angst, and fierceness. Oh, and the mask he wears that has been permanently affixed to his face by magic makes him super mysterious. I can just picture his piercing eyes. He gets me all fluttery in my chest.

8. Lucien. *swoon* I’m going to be selfish and claim him as well. Picture Rhys as a man with a heart of gold and the ego of Gaston. I adore him.

9. The twists and turns the story took are amazing. SO much happens! Just when you think you can close the book for the night, you’ll be sucked right back in because something huge has happened.

10. There are villains you LOVE to hate and monsters that only live in your nightmares. 

My goodness, I think I need to quit while I’m ahead. I’m amazed I even got any words out because my love for this book is stronger than any combination of words I can string together. I am dying for the second book. I’m pretty much an official Sarah J. Maas fangirl. She can do no wrong. Do yourself a favor and buy this book for yourself and everyone you know.

*This review was originally published on April 8, 2015, and was re-posted in celebration of A Week of Beauty and the Beast.

The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye | Debut Author Book Review

June 13, 2016 Book Review, Young Adult 4 ★★★★★

The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye | Debut Author Book ReviewThe Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye
Series: The Crown's Game #1
Also in this series: The Crown's Fate
Published by Balzer + Bray on May 17, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic, Historical Fiction, Romance
Pages: 416
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Edelweiss
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5 Stars
Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love... or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear... the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.

I pretty much knew I was going to love this book when I read the synopsis and discovered that it takes place in Russia during the time of the Ottoman Empire. Combine that with two enchanters, magic, an ancient game, opulent St. Petersburg, and a forbidden love story and I was sold. I’m happy to say that The Crown’s Game was everything I had hoped for and so much more! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. Skye does a wonderful job of blending history with fantasy in a way that had me convinced that this magic and the game is real, and that these enchanters really existed all those years ago. The people and the culture and the setting… it’s all very Russian. The magic just makes it all sparkle.

2. The idea of the actual Crown’s Game is brilliant, and the world-building that goes along with it is so well done. When two enchanters are born in one generation, they must battle each other in a set of magical tasks to see which one is fit to become the Tasr’s on and only enchanter. The other one dies. In this story we have Vika, a mysterious girl from a small town, and Nikolai, the best friend to the son of the Tsar (Pasha). Pasha’s birthday is coming up, so the Tsar instructs these two enchanters to engage in a magical battle to make Pasha’s birthday something special. The battle begins, and the beauty and opulence that encompasses St. Petersburg as a result of this magic is amazing. I won’t give too much away, but I absolutely must mention the intricate system of fountains and color-changing lights that fill the city’s canal system. That entire scene was beautiful, and is still my favorite in the entire book.

3. The characters are great, but I was so swept up in the magic that I never ended up caring about any of them. I know this will change in book #2, though. I know, it’s so weird that I’m allowing this. I’ve always had this rule that I must connect with at least one character in order to even finish a book. So why did I continue even though that didn’t happen this time? And why did I give it a 5-star rating? Guys, it’s like I was hypnotized. I was so captivated, so intrigued, so mesmerized, that I didn’t even notice I wasn’t connecting until I sat down to write my review.

4. I owe my feelings about this book to Evelyn’s writing. She has such a way with words, and wrote such beautiful scenes. There’s one scene that takes place on a little island that one of the enchanters created for one of their tasks. The other enchanter followed along behind and created magical benches that, when you sit on them, transport you to an exotic location where you get to hear and smell and see everything. It was a beautiful, scene, and so wonderfully written and described. I just loved it.

5. The romance is pretty non-existent in this book. There are hints of it and some somewhat unrequited love (?) going on, but it just wasn’t developed into much of anything. Again, that might change in book #2. I was ok with this because everything is so mysterious in this book that you never really know for sure what’s going to happen anyway.

6. The book moves really slowly, but that was fine with me. I did have some trouble getting into it in the beginning, but then I was hooked and I got swept away. If you find that it’s not grabbing you like you hoped, just hang in there and keep going. Let it get its hooks into you.

7. The ending pretty much slaughtered my feels. Like, what do I even do while I wait for the second book?

Overall, this was a very beautiful, magical, mysterious, and captivating tale. I loved the setting and the magic, but I loved the way in which it was written and pieced together the most. I can’t wait to see what happens next, especially after that ending!


My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by Various Authors | Book Review

December 30, 2014 Book Review, Young Adult 5 ★★★

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by Various Authors | Book ReviewMy True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by Ally Carter, David Levithan, Gayle Forman, Holly Black, Jenny Han, Kelly Link, Kiersten White, Laini Taylor, Matt de la Peña, Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, Stephanie Perkins
Published by St Martin's Press on October 14, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic, Holiday, Romance
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Netgalley
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3 Stars
If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME: TWELVE HOLIDAY STORIES by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins.

My True Love Gave to Me was one of the most anticipated holiday reads of mine this season, and I was so excited to dive in and be enchanted. While I liked a few of the stories, I did not like this book as a whole as much as I expected. These are amazing authors, but sadly some of the stories did not wow me. My True Love Gave to Me is a mixed bag of stories ranging from contemporary to fantasy, with a little something for everyone. I don’t want to give too much away since each story is roughly 30 pages, so I’m just going to post my Goodreads status updates for each story. I will note that I might have enjoyed this book more if I had just read a story here and there, rather than trying to binge the whole thing over a few days.

Midnights by Rainbow Rowell
Rainbow’s story just massacred my feels! So swoony and perfect and the kind of story hopeless romantics dream of. This was my favorite story of the collection.

The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link
Kelly Link’s story is odd and weird and magical, yet slightly creepy. My curiosity kept me going, and I ended up utterly captivated.

Angels in the Snow by Matt de la Peña
Matt de la Peña’s story was a tad boring, and I could have done without all the swear words and the cheating.

Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han
Jenny Han’s story is whimsical, and I enjoyed that it took place in Santa’s workshop at the North Pole, but there’s no resolution. It was too short.

It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins
Stephanie Perkins’s story was really cute. Love the idea of falling in love over Christmas trees and sexy voices.

Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan
Didn’t like David Levithan’s story at all. I liked that we got to see Santa come to life for a little girl, but it was mostly boring.

Krampsuslaf by Holly Black
I did not finish Holly Black’s story. A couple pages into it, and I knew it was not the Christmas story for me. Demons, horns, and scrambling “Santa” to get “Satan” do not mean Christmas to me!

What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman
Gayle Forman’s story had me excited because I’ve never read a Hanukkah story before, but I found myself bored. There were a few lovely moments, and some sweet quotes… But overall I felt meh and wanted to move on.

Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McIntyre
Myra McIntyre’s story was whimsical, but took a little while to get into. I didn’t love it, but it was fun. I’m kind of a sucker for awkward romance as well. :)

Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White
Loved kiersten White’s story! It’s magical and sweet and completely heartwarming. And I loved the focus on yummy comfort foods and cheesy Christmas decorations.

Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter
I liked the idea of Ally Carter’s story, but it should not have been a short story. We needed more character development, more back story, and more believability. The resolution was way too far fetched and unlikely. If the story were longer, the author might have been able to pull it off.

The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
I LOVED Laini Taylor’s story. It started out a little slow, but I loved the world and the pure magic. I also loved the beautiful descriptions and the writing style. Laini is super talented, and I would love an entire book devoted to the Dreamer. I wanted more.


Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White | Book Review

October 6, 2014 Book Review, Young Adult 4 ★★★

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White | Book ReviewIllusions of Fate by Kiersten White
Published by HarperTEEN on September 9, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic, Historical Fiction, Romance
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Edelweiss
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3 Stars
Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, a gorgeous, enigmatic young lord who introduces her to the secret world of Albion’s nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn’t—power, money, status…and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, dangerous secrets that the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits and her determination, can stop him.

I had not heard much about Illusions of Fate, but I thought it sounded like something right up my alley. I’ve been on a bit of a fantasy kick lately, and that cover is amazing. Then I heard from Jamie that Stephanie Perkins highly recommends it, and I pushed it right to the top! I loved the idea of magic being a huge story element, so I was excited to begin. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I love this place called Albion. It seems to be kind of a conglomeration of the Regency era in England and historic New York City. There were times I felt like I was sitting in Central Park, and there were times when I felt like I was sitting in an Austen-esque sitting room with lavish couches and tea on the table.

2. The nobility are the ones who hold magical powers! I felt like part of this exclusive club that I was let in on this secret, along with Jessamin. Different people hold and develop different powers, so no two nobles are the same. I liked that.

3. Jessamin is a very exotic-looking girl from the island of Melei, who comes to Albion to study at a prestigious school. Think Oxford. People from her island are not well-liked, so she is a bit of an outsider. She sure does catch the eye of Finn, aka Lord Ackerly. Something extremely romantic and rare happens between the two of him, and he is immediately captivated by her. His arch nemesis, Lord Downpike, has finally found Finn’s weakness. It’s Jessamin. She’s very spunky and not the kind of girl who sits back and lets people protect her, much to Finn’s chagrin.

4. Finn is super swoony. He’s 19, but not. And he’s so proper and romantic. And chivalrous. With these proper mannerisms and personality traits, though, he was not incredibly open with his feelings, which was a bit disappointing. He reminded me a tiny bit of Mr. Darcy. But just a tiny bit. He’s broody and opinionated and stubborn. But not as romantic.

5. I simply adored Jessamin’s friend, Eleanor. I could not get enough of her! She’s hysterical, and so much fun. I would love it if she would get her own book.

6. I think my favorite part of the story is the beginning. Everything is super mysterious and intriguing. Books are hawks as well. Who is Lord Ackerly? What is Lord Downpike hiding? Why does Finn’s house have so many doors that lead to random places? And the feeling of the book was just a bit eery and unsettling.

7. As the book moved forward, mysteries were solved very quickly, and information was kind of dumped on us. I began to get a little bored also, when things quit happening. The beginning was exciting, and there were all these ominous feelings going on. But then the excitement stopped for a while and I felt like I kept reading the same scenes over and over again.

6. I think the book was too short for the story it had to tell. I would have loved a more developed Albion, more depth to the characters (Finn has lived a LOT), and less of an easy and predictable ending. I think this might be one of the very few situations where I actually wanted a sequel. It was all just too formulaic, which was disappointing because the idea was super unique and could have been played with a lot more.

All in all, Illusions of Fate was a fun read. While it could not hold a candle to some of my favorite fantasies, it does have some unique elements that made it a worthwhile read. If you’re looking for a standalone fantasy, with a little mystery and romance I would have no problems recommending Illusions of Fate. While it lacks strong world building, there is a character named Sir Bird that I’m sure you’ll be fond of.


Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo | Book Review

September 29, 2014 Book Review, Young Adult 4 ★★★★★

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo | Book ReviewRuin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha #3
Also in this series: Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on June 17, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic, High Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 417
Format: Hardcover
Source: Birthday present
Amazon Add to Goodreads
5 Stars
The capital has fallen. The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation's fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova's amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling's secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

Oh MY gosh. Ruin and Rising is here!!!! Right!? Don’t worry, I read this right when it came out. It has just taken me this long to figure out how to write a review for it. Leigh Bardugo is my hero. Now, I can’t guarantee there won’t be spoilers for the first two books. And I can’t guarantee this review will be anything but a bunch of fangirling with no real point. But either way, here are my thoughts. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. Before I even begin, can we all just have a moment of silence for the end of the Grisha trilogy? I am SO sad it’s over.

2. This book broke my heart and then put it back together again. I mean, oh wow. The Darkling. Mal. Sturmhond/Nikolai. I just can’t.

3. I will take Nikolai for myself and not let you have him. He is just so perfect. I have grown to love him so much through each book.

4. Everything I said I loved about the first two books, Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm, are still valid. Plus I love these things MORE.

5. Leigh Bardugo made some very brave and almost rebellious decisions with how everything turned out and how everyone ended up. People die. And you’ll care about it. Since Leigh owned these decisions, though, they WORKED. She did not go about this halfway. She jumped in the middle of a dark and deep pit of sharks with a bloody paper cut on her thumb and said, “Bring it on.” This lady has GUTS.

6. The writing just slayed me. Oh, the beauty and the dynamism. If Leigh re-wrote the dictionary, I would read it.

7. There was so much action and excitement, and ALL my questions were answered. And the ending was amazing.

I wish I had been more emotionally equipped to write a more thorough review, but we all know that doesn’t happen often with the end of a trilogy. I loved it, bottom line. You need to read this trilogy. And, chances are, you already have since you’re being brave and reading my review. But if you haven’t or if you haven’t finished it yet, just DO it. It’s amazing and wonderful and definitely my favorite trilogy ever.


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling | Mini Book Review

February 19, 2014 Book Review, Young Adult 17 ★★★★★

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling | Mini Book ReviewHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Series: Harry Potter #1
Published by Scholastic on September 1, 1998
Genres: Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic
Pages: 309
Format: eBook
Source: Bought it!
Amazon Add to Goodreads
5 Stars
Harry Potter has never played a sport while flying on a broomstick. He's never worn a Cloak of Invisibility, befriended a giant, or helped hatch a dragon. All Harry knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley. Harry's room is a tiny cupboard under the stairs, and he hasn't had a birthday party in ten years.

But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to a wonderful place he never dreamed existed. There he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic around every corner, but a great destiny that's been waiting for him... if Harry can survive the encounter.

Wow. I know, right? You’re probably thinking, “Wow. It took Jana a REALLY long time to review this book, since SURELY she read this ages ago.” Well, you’re wrong. I just read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for the first time in my entire life! FINALLY, right? I was scared of this book. I was not a fantasy fan when these books came out, so I could not have cared less about reading them. And then when I finally became a fan of fantasy, the books had received so much praise and proclamations of undying love, that I was too scared to read them! Of course, no book could EVER live up to the hype generated by millions and millions of devoted fans! I wanted to pass that right of passage, though. I’m going to school to be a young adult librarian! How could I not read these? So, I lowered my expectations and forced myself to begin. And much to my surprise…

I LOVED IT. And now, if I ever find someone like me who has not read Harry Potter, I will do this. Because seriously. Someone should have done this to me:

read the book

 

I SO wish I had been interested in these books as a child, because every child needs to believe in the possibility of magic. Every child who hates their life (not that I did, I’m just sayin’), needs to believe that there’s more waiting for them out there in the world.

Hogwarts is just… magical! This world is so exciting and dynamic and it feels HUGE. I finally know what muggles are! And I finally understand why people are waiting for their Hogwarts letter. And I get the owl thing. And I understand who this creepy Voldemort guy is. And Hagrid! I love him! And Hermione is quite annoying. And Ron is adorable. And I want to smack Draco. And Harry is this sweet little skinny thing who I just want to hug because of his terrible childhood. I love that he became special, and recognized it.

I was not expecting Harry Potter to be a funny story! But it is! Hagrid had me laughing so much. And some of the things these kids say to each other is hilarious. Even the professors have their little jokes. I was not expecting my imagination to be so stimulated. This book made me hope that all this magical stuff is real. I was not expecting Harry Potter to read like such a universal book. I mean, these kids are little young things but I did not feel like I was reading a book for children.

I don’t really know what to do. I’m jumping from thought to thought, and there’s really no organizational schematic to this post. Harry Potter has been reviewed and reviewed and talked about for YEARS. There is nothing else I can say. So basically, I’m going to cut this thing short, say “ditto to all the 5-star reviews”, and go stalk the mail for my really pretty 15th anniversary boxed set I just bought. J.K. Rowling has another fan! I’m a cool kid now! I can’t wait to finish the series. :)